Wednesday, 21 August 2019

White Scars Codex Review: Part 1- Stratagems

The first part of my White Scars Codex supplement review will cover the new stratagems in the book. 

My own White Scars army has been sitting in the cupboard neglected for most of 8th edition, so I was hopeful the new rules will give them a new lease in life.

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The White Scars get two new pages of stratagems to add to their flavour and strategies in the game. 

Born in the Saddle (1CP)- A Biker unit that advances can still shoot. 

A solid stratagem for the army that was present in the last codex. There are a number of great stratagems that give bonuses to the unit if they advance, so this is great to keep their shooting power up. Given that White Scars can now advance and still charge, this is a great boost for the Biker units in the army. 

Butchered Quarry (1CP)- When an enemy unit falls back from a White Scars Infantry or Biker unit, each model can make one attack with a melee weapon if there are no other enemy units within 1". If the enemy unit is not destroyed, they can fall back. The White Scars unit can then move 3" as long as they move closer to the enemy unit and not within 1". 

Not one that I'll probably use a lot. Only a single attack each limits the utility of the stratagem, so it is pretty useless on characters unless there is a single model left in the enemy unit. Could be useful for weak enemy units such as Guard or Genestealer Cults. 

Wind-Swift (2CP)- Use after a White Scars unit moves. The unit can move again. They can only advance if they did not advance as part of the first move. They may not shoot, charge or manifest psychic powers. 

Very useful for a Biker unit, or other fast moving unit. This gives bikes a move of 34" in a single turn. Great for grabbing or denying an objective, or getting linebreaker on the last turn. A bit pricey at 2CP, especially as you can't do anything after it, but could be useful once in a while. Not sure if this would stack with Born in the Saddle to allow you to shoot. 

Ride Hard, Ride Fast (1CP)- Use when a White Scars unit advances. Until the start of your next movement phase, the unit is -1 to hit against ranged weapons. 

A strong stratagem to help keep a unit safer from enemy fire. I can see this being very useful for the army. Works very well in combination with Swift Rider from the Space Marine book, which gives you a 3+ invulnerable save on Bikes if you advance. So you will be -1 to hit and a 3+ invulnerable on your Biker units for 2CP. 

Lightning Debarkation (1CP)- Use after a White Scars Transport moves (can't have Fly keyword). A White Scars unit inside can immediately disembark, but cannot make a charge move. 

This gives one of your vehicles the assault transport rule, allowing you to get out. This could be useful on a Rhino, getting out in rapid fire range of your opponent on turn 1, or for getting the extra range to grab an objective with an objective secured unit.

Khan's Champion (1CP)- One Sergeant can take an item of one of the following Special-issue wargear relics; Master-crafted weapons, Digital weapons, Headtaker Trophies, Stormwrath Bolts.

Some of these relics are decent to put on a sergeant, giving you some extra bonuses for the unit. I'm not sure this is worth the CP in most cases though. Master-crafted weapons could be useful for +1 damage on a range of Sergeant weapons.

Hunters' Fusilade (1CP)- Use when a White Scars unit advances. Until the end of the turn, all Heavy Weapons and Rapid Fire weapons are treated as Assault weapons.

This is a great stratagem for keeping mobile Devastators, allowing you to get an additional -1 AP when you are on the Tactical Doctrine. You can use on a second unit of Bikers to allow you to fire their Bolters without penalty with fewer shots, assuming you are using Born in the Saddle on another unit. Unfortunately, you cannot use this on Drop Pod Devastators, as they are unable to advance after deploying from the Drop Pod.

Chogorian Thunderbolts (1CP)- Use when a White Scars Biker finishes a charge move. For each model in the unit that is within 1" of an enemy unit, roll a D6, on a 6, the unit suffers a mortal wound.

Not a great one, in my opinion. Unless you are running large units of Bikers, the odds of doing a mortal wound are not great. Probably not one I would bother using, as there is a better stratagem for Jump Troops in the Marine codex.

Quarry of the Khan (1CP)- Use when you first generate a tactical objective and your warlord is on the table. The first card you draw is Kingslayer.

A terrible one for me. Kingslayer is one of the hardest cards to score against most armies, so purposefully drawing it seems very strange, if quite thematic for the White Scars. Might be useful against big warlords, such as Mortarion or Magnus, but even then, probably not a stratagem I would bother with.

A Mighty Trophy (1CP)- Use when an enemy warlord is destroyed as a result of a melee weapon with a White Scars model. For the rest of the game, your White Scars units automatically pass morale tests.

Again, very situational and probably not that effective in most cases. Most Marine players do not run units large enough for morale to be much of an issue, so auto-passing them is a nice bonus, but a moot point in most games. Plus, you need to kill the warlord in the Fight phase to pass it.

Fierce Rivalries (1CP)- Use at the start of the charge phase. For your first charge roll, roll 3D6 and choose which two results to keep.

A very powerful stratagem for helping you to get a successful charge off. Along with a CP re-roll, this gives you 4D6 to try and make a charge. Great for a long-bomb charge or from coming in from reserves. Along with White Scars psychic powers and abilities that add to your charge range, this makes charging from reserves a lot more reliable.

Strike For the Heart (2CP)- Use before a unit consolidates. The may consolidate D3+3", or D6+6" if the unit has a move value of 10 or more.

This is an incredible stratagem for tying up enemy units and for getting past screens. If you are able to wipe out an enemy unit with a Bike Squad, you can consolidate between 7-12". This opens up a lot of opportunity for destroying enemy screening units and being able to "tag" the units behind them with your consolidation to stop them from firing in their own turn. I can see this being a very powerful stratagem for most games, as you can generally get a first turn charge with White Scars Bikers.

Feinting Withdrawl (1CP)- A unit can fall back and shoot.

A very powerful stratagem for 1CP. This applies to all units in the army, so if you run vehicles, you can stop them from being tied up in combat and not being able to fire. This is great for falling back and being able to shoot and still charge with your White Scars unit.

Tempered by Wisdom (1CP)- Your warlord can take one additional warlord trait (which must be a White Scars trait and cannot be a duplicate).

A nice bonus for your warlord. The White Scars have some solid options for warlord traits, so taking two of them is great for the squad. Not sure I would use this too often, but useful every once in a while.

The Eternal Hunt (2CP)- Once per game. Use at the start of your movement phase when the Assault Doctrine is active. Until the start of the next battle round, an unmodified wound roll of a 6 on a pistol or melee weapon improves its AP characteristic by 1.

As the rules currently work, this stratagem does nothing. According to the Doctrine rules, the AP bonus does not stack with any other AP bonuses (such as from warlord traits) unless otherwise specified. This stratagem does not specify an exception, so is useless at the moment. I believe the intent is to be able to use it with the assault doctrine, so hopefully a fix will be provided.

As it is, a decent bonus for the combat units. Not sure it is worth the 2CP for the chance to get it on a 6 though.

Encirclement (1CP)- Use during deployment, before setting up a White Scars unit. You can set the unit up in outflank. If you do, at the end of one of your movement phases, you can set the unit up wholly within 6" of any battlefield edge and 9" from any enemy models.

I nice outflank stratagem. As this is during deployment, I think you can only use this once in your army, as only pre-game stratagems can be used more than once. This could be useful for getting up the board with slower moving units in the army. I assume this will work on transport vehicles and the units inside them, though it doesn't specify.

Gift of the Khans (1CP)- Allows your successor chapter to take a White Scars Relic or Special Issue wargear relic.

A decent choice as the White Scars have a couple of nice relics. Not one I'll ever need to use though.

The supplement gives the White Scars some really nice stratagems to work with. I can see most of these being of use in the army.

In fact, I think it would be easy to spend too many CP on a single Bike unit to gain a number of useful benefits. It's a shame that many of the useful index units are now gone, as I have a number of White Scars Biker units that can no longer be used with the codex.

I look forward to trying a lot of them out in the future. 


  1. During Deployment is pre-game, and can be used multiple times. That's been established with various things like the Alpha Legion/Raven Guard/Stygies VIII Stratagems and the fact that there are a couple of them (At least Imperial Knights and Tallarn) that state they can only be used once.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. Makes it more useful, but not sure I'd use it for a lot of units.